Facts of the Case
A Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court has stayed the operation of an order delivered by an individual Judge Bench of the Court that had granted schools to collect 70% of the year-long tuition fees chargeable, at the rate at which the fees were collected during the last academic year.
Submissions by the Parties
The litigation was prompted by two circulars issued by the State Government. The first one that directed private schools to hold off on collecting fees for three months, while a second circular dated July 7 continued the operation of the first circular till further notice.
The schools argued that they had infrastructural facilities to support and that they had to pay their non-teaching staff, while also assuming the costs of online classes and teachers’ salaries.
In the Single Bench interim order, the Court had noted that they could not burden parents with heavy fee requirements. On the other hand, schools could not be expected to shoulder the costs of financing its infrastructure, it was pointed out.
The Judge reasoned that the State had not considered these equally important interests when it issued its notification. The Single Judge, therefore, prompted a directive meant to equate the interests of both the schools and the students during the pandemic situation.
To this end, the Court had issued a directive to collect 70% of the yearly tuition fees as per the charges made last year.
The Judge had, however, highlighted that a more detailed analysis of these issues would be undertaken at the stage of final disposal.
A Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Mahendra Kumar Goyal was hearing a batch of pleas that challenged the High Court’s previous order.
While staying the order’s operation, schools in question have now been asked to “await directions” of the Court and not take any “coercive action” against the students as of now. This direction will remain in force until Friday, October 9.
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